There are a lot of things I absolutely love about America. We are free for the most part to the extent of laws. Entertainment and consumerism are at an all time high. We have a lot of great food. Job market may be tough but unlike some countries we have more options. I also love the fact that you can dream in this country. One day you may be living out of a box and the next in a pent house because your recognized by society for your talents or maybe that dumb luck caused you to win the lottery. There are so many things I love about this country that it outweighs anything negative that I could ponder about. There is one thing however that I am absolutely appalled about. One thing that government and citizens have created equally. That is family time.
A long time ago corporate america took over and dictated the hours that people would need to work. A long time ago society decided it was a great idea to work work work. I have nothing against working. I love working. If my option was to stay at home I would go stir crazy. There is this need to have a functioning mind and working hands within me that I can’t just be complacent for too long. Working is not a big deal to me, the deal is that our lifestyle of work prevents us from appreciating the important things.
I look back at my life since I joined the workforce. I think about my parents jobs when I was growing up. Then I reach the same conclusions. Are they alive to work or are they alive to live? My thoughts were to work. I hardly saw my parents and that is not their fault. They had to work to provide that American living standard we all want; the nice house, big lawn, technology gadgets, and then of course food. Because they wanted to provide a good life for my brother and I my father traveled so much that when my parents got divorced it felt like I actually saw my dad the same amount of time then when he was living with us. My mom had to work such long hours for her job that even as a salary employee I would find her on her computer past midnight due to her dealing with different time zones. These lifestyles left my brother and I alone a lot. Alone to come to our own conclusions, learn things our way, and become complacent if we couldn’t keep ourselves busy.
My parents and majority of people out there work so much for their job that even when they get home some people are still not mentally at home. Now that I have a salary job I see the dilemma my parents went through more clearly. Many nights work keeps me stressed out. Sometimes I wake up earlier in the morning for an evening shift because my body is nervous that someone will call from work with an issue and I won’t be available. Computer work is never ending. On some days off I spend anywhere from 2 hours to 9 hours on my computer finishing up paperwork and tying up loose ends. These jobs never stop taking from you. People say that children drain their time away. I agree but so does a job. The worse thing about that draining job is that in the end you usually have nothing to show for. Nothing that you would say was all worth it in the end. Never will I be on my death bed saying, “My time at work gave me such enjoyment that I don’t care if I never spent time with the people that mattered.”
My job is all about consumerism. People come and go. Very few relationships are made and most people are ungrateful that you existed in the first place. Family time is important; family dinners, family outings, family vacations, and just talking is important. Conference calls, emails, corrective actions, reports, numbers…..thats only important today. Your family will be important forever. Of course saying how important family is does not mean I can just walk out of my job, have kids and raise them with the attention we all deserve. Unfortunately there are bills to pay and due to mass advertising and marketing there are things I want that will fill voids in my life temporarily. (At least their filling something instead of me just left wanting all the time.)
I’m jealous that countries like Italy value family time over consumerism for the most part. They shut down shops mid day to have a family meal. Their job doesn’t interfere with their personal time off unless they choose for it. I can live and accept the fact that I will have to put work ahead of my family and friends. Without the job I can’t pay the bills and then I will become a burden to those same family and friends. This doesn’t make it easy to know that you are picking one part of your life over another. Then again are you really? Without money you can’t provide shelter and food for your family. You become a burden on society and that doesn’t help how you look at yourself or how your family looks at you.
Just deal. That is the plan. Deal with the fact that unless you can find a loop-hole you will be catering to anonymous people more than family and friends. Know that in the end you do this for them. Show them appreciation not by buying them nice things but by taking the little time you do have and spending it with them. Call them up to say hi. You don’t need an agenda to hang out. You just have to be flexible with the limited amount of personal time you are given. We will all deal and if not we will move to another country and I’m sure the grass isn’t always greener on that other side.